By Jon Rothstein
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1. HOW MASSIVE IS EDDIE JORDAN’S REBUILDING JOB AT RUTGERS?
Jordan’s quest to make his alma mater relevant nationally was going to be an arduous task regardless, but now with recent player defections, the Scarlet Knights will have to work just to put together a roster for next season.
Since Mike Rice’s firing on April 3, three separate players — Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, and Mike Poole — have all requested their release from the school in hopes of transferring elsewhere.
Jordan needs to try to reel some of these guys back in, or else his first year in Piscataway could be a long one.
2. IS ST. JOHN’S THE MOST TALENTED TEAM HEADING INTO THE NEW BIG EAST NEXT SEASON?
After Vander Blue’s decision to leave Marquette for the NBA, the Red Storm immediately became the Big East’s team to beat next season.
St. John’s still has to gel as a unit to outlast schools like Villanova, Providence, and Xavier in the final standings, but the upside on this roster is off the charts.
Steve Lavin’s team will likely return their top five scorers from last year’s team that went 17-16 as well as burgeoning shot blocker Chris Obekpa, who averaged 4.0 blocks per game as a freshman.
The Red Storm will also add highly-skilled forward Orlando Sanchez, and blue chip guard Rysheed Jordan, who committed to St. John’s last week.
Anything less than a place in the field of 68 will be a major disappointment for this group.
3. WHAT DOES JAREN SINA’S COMMITMENT MEAN FOR SETON HALL?
First off, Kevin Willard finally has a capable point guard that can make shots. Secondly, it reiterates the impact of Freddie Hill as an assistant coach.
The former Rutgers coach was added to the Pirates’ staff this past week, and had a deep relationship with Sina that ultimately allowed Seton Hall to lock up the Top 100 floor general.
Sina’s commitment gives Willard another guard to play next to Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs in the back court, and allows fans in South Orange to have legitimate hope for next season.
With Sina, Gibbs, Fuquan Edwin, Brian Oliver, and Brandon Mobley, the Pirates have multiple players that can make shots from deep and extend the defense.
Eugene Teague is also back at center, and averaged 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season.
This is an interesting team heading into next year. Willard is as good as they come in terms of putting his players in the right spots on the floor to get quality shots, and now he has the personnel in place to have a really strong offensive core.
Don’t be surprised if Seton Hall wins 17-19 games in 2013-14.
4. WHY DID GRANT JERRETT LEAVE ARIZONA?
Because he didn’t want to fight for minutes with Brandon Ashley and incoming freshman Aaron Gordon at power forward.
Will he get drafted? We’re not so sure.
Will this affect Arizona? Absolutely.
The Wildcats have other people to fill minutes at power forward, but they don’t have a pick-and-pop guy that can extend defenses like Jerrett.
Last season, Jerrett made 32 three-point shots and shot 41.5% from behind the arc.
This is a big loss for Sean Miller’s team.
5. WILL OKLAHOMA STATE BE PICKED TO WIN THE BIG 12 AHEAD OF KANSAS?
They should be.
The return of Marcus Smart and LeBryan Nash means the Cowboys will likely have two first-team All-Big 12 players.
Markel Brown also returns for Oklahoma State, along with sharp shooter Phil Forte and role guys like Michael Cobbins and Kamari Murphy.
Travis Ford has a legitimate Top 10 team with the potential preseason player of the year in Smart.
Life is good right now in Stillwater.
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